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Kentucky Water Science Center


Ohio River Alluvial Aquifer - Groundwater Network

The alluvial aquifer at Louisville, Kentucky, lies in a valley eroded by glacial meltwater that was later partly filled with outwash sand and gravel deposits. The aquifer is primarily unconfined, and the direction of flow is from the adjacent limestone and shale valley wall toward the Ohio River and major pumping centers. The alluvium consists of unconsolidated glacial outwash sand and gravel deposits, and forms a productive, spatially restricted aquifer that is hydraulically connected to the Ohio River. The northeast portion of the alluvium— a 6.4-mi reach running from Beargrass Creek upriver to Harrods Creek is an especially prolific water-bearing formation with the total groundwater storage in the area estimated at 7 billion gallons (Rorabaugh, 1956). This portion of the alluvium is approximately 3,000 feet wide at each end and tapers to a width of approximately 1,000 feet in the middle of the 6.4-mi. reach. The average thickness of the alluvial deposits is about 100 feet. Estimated sustainable water supplies, derived from induced flow from the Ohio River, range from 280 to 400 million gallons per day for this portion of the aquifer (Rorabaugh, 1956).

Water-level data for the alluvial aquifer at Louisville, Kentucky, have been collected by the USGS in cooperation with various local and State agencies since September 1943. Data are presently being collected in cooperation with the Louisville Water Company. Special attention is given to the northeast portion of the alluvial aquifer where the Louisville Water Company is beginning to use riverbank filtration wells [refer to the photograph to the right] to draw water from the Ohio River through the aquifer at their B.E. Payne Water Treatment Plant near Prospect, Kentucky.
To monitor the groundwater levels, twenty-eight existing wells were incorporated into an observation well network. This network is measured quarterly. Twelve of the observation wells are equipped with continuously recording pressure transducers that measure water levels and water temperature. Hydrographs from the continuous recorder wells depict the trends in the groundwater levels.

The ESRI® map below depicts the general location of the groundwater observation wells; clicking on the map will open an interactive map with access to the associated data. The table below the map has the sites listed as they appear on the map from south to north. The site identifier is an active link to the available data and statistics for that well; the site name is an active link to the well characteristics and summary of available data; the site photo #1 and site photo #2 are active links to photos of the well.

Additional information about the Ohio River Alluvial Aquifer - Groundwater Network project can be obtained from Mike Unthank, KY WSC, (phone) 502-493-1932, (email) munthank@usgs.gov.



photo of riverbank filtration system - Photo Courtesy of Louisville Water Company

A Louisville Water Company riverbank infiltration well

map of the LWC sites - Click to view larger image

Related Publications

Annual Data Reports - 1994-2012

Summary of available hydrogeologic data for the northeast portion of the alluvial aquifer at Louisville, Kentucky [OFR 2006-1146]

Annotated bibliography of selected references on ground-water resources and geohydrology of the Louisville area, Kentucky, 1944-93 [OFR 94-75]

Ground-water levels in and pumpage from the alluvial aquifer at Louisville, Kentucky [WRI 94-4099]

Hydrogeology and simulation of ground-water flow in the alluvial aquifer at Louisville, Kentucky [WRI 91-4035]

Ground-water levels in the alluvial aquifer at Louisville, Kentucky, 1987-88 [WRI 89-4119]

Ground-water levels in the alluvial aquifer at Louisville, Kentucky, 1982-87 [WRI 87-4197]

Chloroform contamination in part of the alluvial aquifer, southwest Louisville, Kentucky [WSP 2202 (1983)]

Problems of rising ground-water levels in urban areas with special reference to the Louisville, Kentucky area [WRI 83-4233]

Rising ground-water level in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, 1972-1977 [WRI 77-92]

Summary of hydrologic conditions of the Louisville area of Kentucky [WSP 1819-C] (1966)]

Progress report on the ground-water resources of the Louisville area, Kentucky, 1949-55 [WSP-1579 (1963)]

Ground water in northeastern Louisville, Kentucky with reference to induced filtration [WSP 1360-B (1956)]

Water resources of the Louisville area, Kentucky and Indiana [Circular 276 (1953)]



Site Data and Characteristics

Legend:    Continuous records Continuous Record          Intermittent records Intermittent Record     Discontinued Site Discontinued Site


Site Type

Site ID

Site Name

Well Depth

Site Photos

Continuous records 381441085452701 Library A-2 105.8 Library A-2 #1 || Library A-2 #2
Continuous records 381518085453402 Courthouse Annex 101 Courthouse #1 || Courthouse #2
Continuous records 381527085453001 Belvedere Well 89.90 Belvedere #1 || Belvedere #2
Continuous records 381613085422801 Edith Lane Landfill 60.2 Edith Lane #1 || Edith Lane #2
Continuous records 381638085415801 WC-4 100 WC-4 #1 || WC-4 #2
Intermittent records 381648085421201 WC-5 98.0 WC-5 #1 || WC-5 #2
Continuous records 381653085413302 WC-9A 90 WC-9A #1 || WC-9A #2
Continuous records 381701085414002 WC-8A 86.8 WC-8A #1 || WC-8A #2
Continuous records 381742085402001 WC-13 102 WC-13 #1 || WC-13 #2
Continuous records 381827085392401 WC-26 110 WC-26 #1 || WC-26 #2
Continuous records 381904085384801 WC-27 96.0 WC-27 #1 || WC-27 #2
Continuous records 381958085380201 Thompson Well 52.8 Thompson #1 || Thompson #2
Continuous records 382007085373801 Bird Man 61.50 Bird Man #1 || Bird Man #2
Continuous records 382016085382601 LWC P-4 90.60 LWC P-4 #1 || LWC P-4 #2
Continuous records 382026085374301 Little Dean 108.2 Little Dean #1 || Little Dean #2
Continuous records 382032085375601 Staples 73.00 Staples #1 || Staples #2
Continuous records 382034085381201 LWC P-1 101.8 LWC P-1 #1 || LWC P-1 #2
Continuous records 382037085381101 LWC P-2 102.00 LWC P-2 #1 || LWC P-2 #2
Continuous records 382038085382001 Scott 50.1 Scott #1 || Scott #2
Continuous records 382039085375201 WP-7 83.5 WP-7 #1 || WP-7 #2
Continuous records 382051085380801 LWC-1 77.0 LWC-1 #1 || LWC-1 #2
Continuous records 382053085381301 LWC-3B 85.8 LWC-3B #1 || LWC-3B #2
Continuous records 382054085380602 LWC-7A 82.7 LWC-7A #1 || LWC-7A #2
Continuous records 382057085380801 LWC-2B 82.1 LWC-2B #1 || LWC-2B #2
Continuous records 382102085380701 WP-19 106 WP-19 #1 || WP-19 #2
Continuous records 382105085375101 Hays-Kennedy 77.0 Hays-Kennedy #1 || Hays-Kennedy #2
Continuous records 382120085374701 River-Fields 71.0 River-Fields #1 || River-Fields #2
Continuous records 382124085375401 Abell 45.00 No Photos Available

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